The Uganda Electoral Commission [EC] has confessed it has in its possession pre-ticked ballots which opposition Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] earlier spoke of in the just concluded Hoima by-election.
Harriet Businge Mugenyi Akiiki was declared the winner in the By-election for the Hoima District Woman Member of Parliament.
Businge of the ruling National Resistance Movement polled 33,301 votes making up 52.2% of the votes cast whereas her Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] counterpart Asinansi Nyakato got 28,789 (45.1%).
While rejecting the outcome, FDC cited voter bribery, harassment involving caning of its members by authorities and pre-ticked ballots which were seized from an army polling station.
“The Electoral Commission has pre-ticked ballots from the Hoima by-election but we are yet to analyse them,” EC spokesperson Jotham Taremwa confirmed while appearing on NBS television Monday morning.
Taremwa said some suspects are already in custody in Hoima.
“We are going to treat these ballots as a sample test. If you need any information, ask police because they’re the security managers.”
He said the general assessment of Hoima is that it was a successful election.
According to him, people will always make attempts to foil systems.
“Voter turnout for by-elections is always low and it was the same for Kaabong. Voting is voluntary. The Kaabong by-election was free and fair.”
Asked if NRM celebrating, government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, said: “We are grateful we had a candidate in the race and we are grateful the election was in the NRM’s favour.”
He said unfortunately, the media has only focused on Hoima yet they also had a by-election in Kaabong District.
“Overall, NRM performed very well. I also want to thank the other competing parties for giving us a run for our money. Bunyoro has been an area where NRM hasn’t been contested.”
Apart from politics, the opposition injects blatant lies, intimidation and violence, Opondo noted.
“It appears that these three are the main tools of the opposition and I hope the public sees them for who they are. When we have a deployment to curtail the lies, they run to the media. I want to thank the Hoima locals and police for standing firm.”
He said thick brush with which FDC President Patrick Oboi Amuriat is painting the Hoima election is the same brush the opposition uses to paint all the elections they have lost.
“If they have pre-ticked ballots with them, we would want them to be subjected to forensic investigations. If there were any of these mal-practices like they say, why hasn’t it affected all the other by-elections? We’re used to the opposition’s ‘Plan B’. Since 2006, they’ve had a Plan B.”
He noted that Patrick Oboi saying NRM is stretching Uganda to the limit, should play the politics and see if Uganda will explode.
To him, there might be a significant number of Ugandans who might not be satisfied with the conditions but have hope that the NRM will straighten things out.
“This attempted intimidation by the opposition is called a bluff. In the case of Hoima, the actual votes the opposition garnered should get NRM to wake up; [we] must go back to the drawing board and ask ourselves why these liars (opposition) got the 46% even when we’re doing well.”